Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Motors Matter More Than Lungs

Straight out of TransMilenio's tailpipes and into our lungs.
Bogotá's Secretariat of the Environment just decided not to require TransMilenio and Sitp buses to use filters to reduce their pollution.

Anybody who traveles Bogotá's streets can see why many of those buses are called 'rolling chimneys.'
Air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths in Bogotá each year, as well as untold suffering for the aged and for people with asthma and other breathing ailments.

But the agency that's supposed to protect Bogotá's environment (and presumably our health) took the side of the bus owners, who claim that filters would damage their engines. That might come as a surprise in the many cities around the world which have required filters for years - and where residents breathe clean air. It's enough to make one suspect that the Bogotá bus owners' real agenda is to save money by sending their unfiltered filth belching into our atmosphere.

A SITP bus does what it knows best:
pump billions of diesel particles into our air.
Instead, the law instructs bus owners to select from a range of anti-pollution options, including valves, conventional filters, magnetic filters, etc. In other words, by giving the owners many alternatives, none will be enforced.

And even if the owners are right about the engine damage, it only means an additional cost - undoubtedly still much cheaper than the immense health and environmental damage caused by Bogotá's toxic air pollution.

Besides the medical and environmental impacts, how many companies have chosen to locate elsewhere because of the gray air? How many tourists have opted to spend their time and money elsewhere to give their lungs a break?

Putting the economic interests of bus owners first is a bad bargain for the city all around.

Bogotá's environmental agency has made it clear: Their motors are woth more than our lungs.

An afterthought: The polluters are shifting their costs onto cyclists and pedestrians in a very concrete way: by forcing them to buy the filters, to cover their own mouths.

Dressed right for Bogotá's air.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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